A few days ago Ronan Mullen launched quite an extraordinary, and very personal, attack on me on the Moncrief Show on Newstalk. Brendan Hoban took up the points he made and answered them effectively on the ACP website, so I don’t need to go into them here.
I didn’t happen to be listening to Moncrief on that particular day, but the incident was brought to my attention and I played it back that evening. I know some people will say that since I have gone public on my own situation I am fair game for anyone who wishes to comment, and to some extent that is true. But I am not a politician, and I make no money out of any publicity, and I don’t have the sort of tough skin that politicians need to develop in order to survive. Also the circumstances that led to me being in the public eye have come at a stage in my life when a person would normally be moving into retirement.
I found it both hurtful and upsetting to listen to what Mr. Mullen said. I was not surprised that he disagreed with some positions I hold. He has made that clear on a number of occasions. When my ‘silencing’ first got into the public domain he argued on Prime Time that it was right that I should be silenced. That did sound strange coming from someone who earns his living from two professions, politics and journalism, that vehemently defend the right to free speech.
What surprised me on this occasion was the personal nature of his attack. (I also think it was not proper for Moncrief to allow that to happen when I was not there to defend myself). What upset me most of all was his claim that he had spoken to some of my Redemptorist colleagues who had said very disparaging things about me. I know that there would be no point in asking him to name them, because he would refuse. If such people or person actually exist it is a pity that they wouldn’t say these things to myself rather than giving ammunition to someone who uses them to malign me publicly.
Having heard the interview, and the reference to Redemptorist opinion, I drew the attention of my superiors to it, and requested that, if they regarded it as unfair, they would clarify that matter publicly with Moncrief. That has not happened, and as of now I have heard nothing from them.
The late George Colley is reputed to have responded, when he was roundly criticised by a certain individual: “Would that I had a more worthy opponent!” Indeed.